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Discussion 2 to Ask the Patriarch 23
Christian Minister taken in

by: JT

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There's an interesting article[1] in the May 15 edition of the New Yorker about a Christian minister and psychiatrist who was taken in by the Nigerian banking scam. Not only did he send his own money off the Africa, but he also ended up unwittingly depositing stolen and forged cheques on their behalf and sending that money away too. This resulted in a conviction for money laundering.

And what led this Christian minister to get involved?

The e-mail came from someone who claimed to have $55 million in government cash which he was supposed to use to buy arms, but had decided to divert to his own use. And he needed an overseas bank account to move the funds to safety.

Right up front, it was crystal clear that if the deal was legitimate, it involved stolen money. And this Christian Minister volunteered to assist the thief within minutes of receiving the request.

"I can help and I am interested," he wrote.

It is a sad story overall, particularly as it led to a criminal conviction, but still, you would expect a Christian clergyman to be aware of "Thou shalt not steal," which even I consider to be a pretty good commandment.



  1. The Perfect Mark by Mitchell Zuckoff, The New Yorker, May 15, 2006